Best non-Pixar Disney animated movies of the 2000s ranked
Disney has released some great movies over the years, and after they decided to buy 20th Century Fox, Lucasfilm, and Marvel, it’s doubtful that they will stop anytime soon. However, some beauties in the studio's work from the 2000s deserve more appreciation.
In the 2000s, the post-renaissance era of the studio brought a new wave of animated films that decided to draw in a crowd without using musical numbers that the previous films in the 90s utilized. Many of the films were not as popular as the last era renaissance, but these relics deserve way more love than they are credited with.
These are the best Disney films of the 2000s
7) Brother Bear
This wild wilderness film from 2003 saw Joaquin Phoenix, pre-Joker glory, as a hunter named Kenai, who witnessed the death of his brother Sitka after he attempted to save them from a bear. When Kenai seeks retribution and kills the bear, he is turned into one himself and must take care of a younger bear named Koda.
The film may not be the strongest entry on this list, but it packs a visual and emotional punch to please children and uses enough dark elements to amuse parents. The film is the lowest-rated movie on the list on Rotten Tomatoes, but its sense of adventure and humor should be more than enough to change critics' minds over time.
6) Treasure Planet
Another underrated animated film in the studio's canon would be the sci-fi movie Treasure Planet. Based upon the book Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, the audience finds a young boy named Jim who frequently gets himself in trouble and gets the opportunity to go on a wild adventure with a cyborg, an annoying robot and a small, pink shapeshifter named Morph.
Like the many films on the list, Treasure Planet uses visual charm to capture audiences' hearts and maintain the source material's consistency while adding its twist. Its number of worlds and creatures could rival Star Wars and Star Trek. Sadly, it didn’t get the credit it deserved when it originally came out.
5) Lilo & Stitch
Most fans of the mouse house will easily recognize this animated comedy. When Stitch, an experiment-gone-wrong, gets loose across the galaxy and lands on a Hawaiian island where he meets a lonely girl named Lilo, the two develop a close friendship but are in danger of being hunted by the aliens responsible for the blue creature.
This funny, beautiful, and adventurous film certainly has all of the makings of a classic animated movie. It understands the values of family and sticking together, mixing galactic space travel and emotional weight in its Hawaiian landscape. It later spawned a franchise and will soon have a live-action remake.
4) Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Back in 2001, the studio decided to recruit the directors of Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame to create this fine contemporary masterpiece. The main character, Milo Thatch (Michael J. Fox), embarks on a journey with a rag-tag crew to find the lost city of Atlantis.
With so much visual splendor, it’s easy for one to get lost in the landscape of the film. It goes deeper into the rich mythology and history of the fictional city and illuminates an audience of beauty underneath our world, made complete by its unparalleled vocal performances.
3) The Emperor's New Groove
Who knew talking llamas, an evil henchwoman and David Spade’s voice would turn out to be comedy gold? Audiences were open to Emperor Kuzco, a selfish ruler who was accidentally transformed into a llama and forced to team up with a lowly villager whom he would never take seriously in any other circumstance.
In this more light-hearted and toned-down animated film, David Spade, John Goodman, Patrick Warburton, and Eartha Kitt join forces to create an uproarious comedy tour-de-force.
2) The Princess and the Frog
This is the only musical on the list, but what a treat it was to watch. The story follows Tiana (Anika Noni Rose), a young waitress who dreams of opening her restaurant but is turned into a frog along with Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos) and the two learn a lot about each other while attempting to vanquish a shadowman.
The film revitalized the traditionally animated Disney musical and utilized the old studio's magic and dark elements to make the film something that fans will never forget, along with its newest princess.
Despite what critics have said and what audiences perceive about this film, this is the best film of the 2000s. Dinosaur weaves the tale of an orphaned iguanodon named Aladar who has his world turned upside down when a meteor shower wipes out his paradise island and is forced to join another group of dinos to find the new nesting grounds.
This film had some of the best visual effects of the decade and has often been overlooked by film and cinematic historians. Its sheer magnitude, spectacle and James Newton Howard’s illustrious score are enough to make this prehistoric flick a delight for anyone young or old.
Disclaimer: This article reflects the opinions of the writer.